12 October 2020

1) With the recession from the Covid-19 came predictions of waves of bankruptcy filings as businesses, large and small, failed. But that wave of bankruptcy has not materialized, and so far, there’s no sign that it will, indeed bankruptcies are down a little from last year. This is a good sign that companies and households are not as stressed as many economist feared. However, bankruptcy filings aren’t a perfect measure of hardship, with many companies barely hanging on, so bankruptcies may still be coming. Many small businesses and households go bust without ever formally filing for bankruptcy.

2) The four massive high tech companies, Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are under investigation at Federal and State levels for antitrust. These investigations are spurred by concerns that competition is being stifled by the domination of these companies, but there are concerns that the big tech is trying to also stifle conservative voices. Google is facing a relatively narrow complaint from the Justice Department that it seeks to disadvantage rivals in search and advertising. The focus on Apple is their apps store with accusations that Apple introduces new products and then put out apps that compete with them. Facebook has raised concerns over how they treat some of their app developers on its platform and therefore engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices. Amazon is suspected of conflict of interest in competition with small sellers on its marketplace platform.

3) Silicon Valley companies are thinking about the future of work taking actions from pay cuts to permanent work-from-home as they strive to cope with the coronavirus crisis. The big tech companies have formed various plans for the future of work. Some companies, (Twitter and Slack), said their employees never need to return to the office, while others, such as Microsoft, are adopting a hybrid model where employees report to the office only a few days a week. Amazon and Salesforce are adopting new benefits to help out working parents, such as subsidized back-up childcare and extended paid leave, while Facebook, employees may work from home permanently. However, if they leave the Bay Area for a less expensive city, they’ll may face a pay cut. Silicon Valley may bear little resemblance to the thriving hub before the pandemic. Tech companies have largely shut down their sprawling campuses and asked employees to work from home — in some cases, forever. When those offices reopen office life is unlikely to resemble the past. Companies may change their real estate plans, opting instead for a new type of office, or none at all.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 OCT 20:

Dow 28,586.90 up 61.39
Nasdaq 11,579.94 up 158.96
S&P 500 3,477.13 up 30.30

10 Year Yield: up at 0.78%

Oil: down at $40.52

2 September 2020

1) Five American companies make up 24% of the S&P 500 Index, the big high tech companies Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet. These five companies made up 17% of the index at the start of the year. This makes a significant part of American net worth and security for retirement dependent on just a handful of stocks, which makes some financial advisers nervous having their eggs in too few baskets. One hiccup in the technology sector could mean major losses across the board.

2) Another shooting of a young black man Monday in South Los Angeles has sparked more protest that could lead to more city rioting. The man was stopped for violating vehicle codes, but then ran, with the police in hot pursuit. When police caught up with him, he punched one policeman in the face at which time a semiautomatic pistol dropped out causing both policemen to open fired. Since the victim didn’t have the weapon in hand, nor was it ever pointed at either police officers, so there are questions about the shooting. So far, protests have been peaceful.

3) The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the protest leaders and their funding in Portland and other cities for possible criminal activity. With riots and civil unrest now at a hundred days, and significant monetary loses have been occurred, questions are being raised about who is behind the well organized protesters seemingly intent on violent confrontation. Of especial interest is the loosely organized far left Antifa and the Black Lives Matter, and who is ultimately controlling their operations through funding and why.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 SEP 20:

Dow 28,645.66 up 215.61
Nasdaq 11,939.67 up 164.21
S&P 500 3,526.65 up 26.34

10 Year Yield: down at 0.67%

Oil: up at $43.01

MICROSOFT TALK HEATS UP IN PURCHASING TIK TOK APP!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Say it ain’t so….. Well there is a lot of chit chat and jibber jabber that Mr. or Ms. Internet Explorer (however you want to look at it); Microsoft Inc is exploring acquiring the famous social media app Tik Tok from China based ByteDance.

Talks began as the White House and President Trump are seriously considering banning the mega app, for US national security protocols and reasons. Analysts have indicated that Microsoft buying Tik Tok would be beneficial to the software conglomerate; allowing it to enter the social media space which Microsoft has dabbled in the past.

Experts have indicated that Tik Tok’s valuation seems to be exploding toward the upside and the purchase of Tik Tok by Microsoft or another tech company would make a lot of $en$e and $cent$. -SB

Image Source: News18.com

29 June 2020

1) Microsoft is permanently closing almost all of its stores across the nation and world. Just like other retail outlets, Microsoft had to shutter all its stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are 83 stores worldwide of which 72 are in the U.S., however only four will remain open in the world. The stores allowed people to try out software and hardware offered by Microsoft including laptop computers. No news if there will be any layoffs or how many, the stores are moving to the digital realm, which will absorb many of the store employees. The physical stores generated negligible retail revenue for Microsoft.

2) As oil prices reach the magic $40 a barrel, shale fracking is starting to reawaken to pump oil. The number of fracking crews had bottomed out at 45 last month, but is now back up to 78 this last week. There had been roughly 400 fracking crews before the decline in oil prices started. The drilling of new oil wells remains on hold with a 70% slump, making for the lowest number of active drilling rigs since 2011.

3) Nike is warning its employees of coming layoffs, but these layoffs will not effect store employees. The layoffs are expected to come in two waves, the first this July followed in the fall with a the second wave. These layoffs come amid reports of poor earnings, with sales down 38% giving a net loss of $790 million dollars when the Convid-19 virus forced closing of most of its stores. This compares with nearly a billion dollars in earnings for the same time last year. Nike has 76,700 employees, but it’s not know yet how many will lose their jobs. All wasn’t bad for Nike, with their online sales skyrocketing 75%, with e-sales accounting for 30% of Nike’s total business.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 JUN 20:

Dow 25,015.55 down 730.05
Nasdaq 9,757.22 down 259.78
S&P 500 3,009.05 down 74.71

10 Year Yield: down at 0.64%

Oil: down at $38.16

16 March 2020

1) Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft is stepping down from the company’s board of directors, which makes it the biggest boardroom departure in the tech industry, since the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs. Additionally, Mr. Gates is vacating his board seat at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., intending to devote his time to his philanthropic efforts. He will continue serving as a technical advisor to Microsoft.

2) Oil prices climbed up 5% on the announcement by President Trump that the Department of Energy would purchase crude for the nations’ strategic petroleum reserve. The objective is to boost oil prices to keep shale producers in business, because oil needs to be $40 or more a barrel to break even, depending on the particulars of an oil field. The shale oil companies are further in trouble because they are carrying a high debt level. Shale oil production is very capital intensive and therefore very sensitive to oil prices if companies aren’t to go bankrupt. Some suggest that the Russians engineered the rupture of the Saudi Arabia – Russian agreement to limit production levels as a means to cripple the U.S. shale oil production and thereby make America dependent on foreign oil again.

3) President Trump and the Congress have agreed on several provisions of a package, but have been far apart on others. Their discussions center on ways to minimize the economic impact of the coronavirus fears. One point is to ensure that every American can receive a virus test without consideration of money.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 MAR 20:

Dow 23,185.62 up 1985.00
Nasdaq 7,874.88 up 673.07
S&P 500 2,711.02 up 230.38
10 Year Yield: up at 0.95%
Oil: up at $32.93

8 November 2019

1) Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, says he’s happy to pay his share of taxes, but expressed consternation over Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to tax America’s wealthy. He considers the presidential hopeful is not very open minded to consider his concerns. Warren’s wealth tax proposal is 2% annual levy on household wealth above $50 million dollars with an additional 1% tax on wealth above $1 billion dollars. She estimates this would cover 75,000 tax payers raising $2.6 to $2.75 trillion dollars over a ten years.

2) Stores are starting their Black Friday sales earlier this year, in part because the holiday shopping season is six days shorter. Retailer Target will begin online Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving morning, with stores opening their doors at 5 p.m. and remaining open through 1 a.m. the next day. On Black Friday, their stores open at 7 a.m.. Other retailers such as Walmart started their holiday shopping season last October.

3) Xerox is offering HP a takeover bid of $22 per share. The bid consists of 77% cash and 23% stock which would be $17 in cash and 0.137 Xerox shares for each HP share. If accepted, the deal would generate about $2 billion dollars in cost synergies with HP stock holders owning 48% of the company. HP has announced job cuts between 7,000 and 9,000 by the end of fiscal 2022. HP is worth $29 billion dollars and is more than three times the size of Xerox in terms of market cap.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 NOV 19:

Dow                 27,674.80    up    182.24
Nasdaq              8,434.52    up      23.89
S&P 500             3,085.18    up        8.40

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.93%

Oil:    up   at    $57.07

19 July 2019

1) The video streaming service Netflix has lost customers for the first time in eight years while also missing its target for new subscriptions overseas. The lost of 130,000 customers from April to June resulting in a 10.3% drop in its stock. Netflix confessed that its new TV shows for this quarter were not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets has slowed their growth.

2) The software giant Microsoft beat analysts estimates for fourth quarter revenue and profit, primary because of its flagship cloud products Azure and Office software. Microsoft has tapped into the booming demand for cloud based services, pushing its capitalization to about $1.05 trillion dollars. Microsoft’s net income rose to $13.19 billion dollars in the quarter ending on June, up from $8.87 billion dollars.

3) The Democrats have pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The raises will be over a six year span from the present $7.25 hour, and will be halted if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects. The increase in labor cost will most likely spur development of automation technologies to reduce the need for people in company’s labor force. The bill still has to be voted on and passed by the Senate before it can go to the President for signing.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 JUL 19:

Dow             27,222.97    up      3.12
Nasdaq          8,207.24    up    22.04
S&P 500         2,995.11    up    10.69

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.04%

Oil:    up   at    $55.78

18 July 2019

1) News for budding entrepreneurs. Each year, roughly 30,000 new consumer products are introduced to the market place, but 95% of them fail. The primary reason for failure is lack of preparation, of not understanding the ‘product life cycle’. The life cycle is the time from inception to obsolescence the product experiences. As a product goes through its life cycle, the sales and profit margins will fluctuate, so you must adjust your marketing mix accordingly. The subject is complex and extensive, and a new entrepreneur should spend time researching and understanding the topic before investing in a new product venture.

2) AT&T and Microsoft announced they have agreed on a cloud deal worth more than $2 billion dollars. AT&T will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service for its computing needs and Office 365 software for its 268,000 people. Additionally, the two companies will work together on edge computing with Microsoft technology deployed alongside AT&T’s up coming 5G network and applications requiring extremely small delays in passing data back and forth such as real time control systems applications.

3) The debt of America is about to hit a record high, a result of cheap money and soaring debt, which has fueled the decade long economic expansion and bull market. There are raising fears of what could happen if there is a shift in the fragile economic balance. The total American debt, both public and private amounts to nearly $70 trillion dollars, with the economy about $21 trillion dollars in size. Difficulties could arise if America should experience a recession with both government and private sectors having trouble meeting their repayments.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 JUL 19: Disappointing quarterly reports pulled the markets down.

Dow                   27,219.85    down    115.78
Nasdaq                8,185.21    down      37.59
S&P 500               2,984.42    down      19.62

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.06%

Oil:    down   at    $56.58

AMAZON CEO (JEFF BEZOS) BECOMES RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD FOR HALF A DAY….

By: Economic & Finance Report

On Thursday July 27, 2017, Amazon head honcho/founder and CEO, Mr. Jeff Bezos surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates, as the richest person in the world, he toppled Mr. Gates with an estimated net worth of $90 billion.

Later on Thursday July 27, 2017 Amazon stocks missed quarterly (Q2) estimates, Bezos net worth declined to $85.9 billion making him #2 richest person (After Bill Gates), thus allowing Bill Gates to reclaim his “richest person mantle” again.

Mr. Bezos and Amazon have had a productive year so far, having purchased Whole Foods, a middle eastern online retail giant Souq.com, and a host of other investments; such as the expansion of warehouses, streaming/content services, as well as marketing and promoting in house products such as the Echo Fire Stick. The Amazon brand remains a strong brand and even a more competitive household name. Successful contributions by an even more accomplished man.

-SB

FORMER MICROSOFT CEO… INVESTS 4% STAKE IN TWITTER…$800 MILLION STAKE….

Steve Ballmer pic

By: Economic & Finance Report

Former Microsoft executive CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers NBA team owner, Steve Ballmer has invested in social media giant,  Twitter #TWTR… His 4% stake is valued around $800 million, and leads him to be the #3 individual stakeholder in the company, overtaking more stake in the company then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

With the announcement, Twitter’s stock rose over 5% on Friday, @ $31.34 by the closing stock bell. Mr. Ballmer net worth is over $21 billion dollars in 2015, making him the 35th richest person in the world. Twitter has indicated recently that it will be laying off employees; somewhere around 8-10% of their workforce will be downsizing. -SB